Tajaawob project was implemented by the British Council in partnership with Palestinian Vision Organization (PalVision), Coalition for Accountability and Integrity (AMAN), Oxfam GB, BBC Media Action, and the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (Miftah). It was funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID). The Tajaawob project was created to bridge the gap between Palestinian citizens in seven marginalised communities and the authorities, and to instil a culture of mutual responsiveness and responsibility that contributes to the development of civil society.
Both traditional and innovative initiatives were introduced, such as local committees, citizen report cards, a phone app and a mobile media studio, to engage citizens in mobilisation and advocacy and make their voices heard. These tools proved effective in bringing about positive change and improving the delivery of local services.
Over 30 local policy changes or improvements to services can be attributed to Tajaawob interventions. For example, the Ministry of Social Affairs responded to requests from local beneficiary councils by producing a guide to services that fosters greater transparency and open communication with beneficiaries in all communities; the Ministry also improved the quality of food relief. The Water Authority in Bethlehem altered its policy to customer enquiries and feedback as a result of complaints on an app promoting social accountability, and also increased the transparency and dissemination of information about water supply schedules.
Other successes include the renovation of a village play area, enhanced resources for health services, the mainstreaming of services for people with disabilities and interventions to improve road safety and lighting.
Training for local committee members in media relations, fundraising and negotiating has given citizens, particularly women, the confidence to raise issues with the authorities and the skills to ensure sustainable engagement in social accountability. As one committee member put it: “Capacity building for individuals is better than giving financial assistance”.
The Tajaawob project has worked with over 300 community activists representing local community committees, beneficiary forums, parent councils, and other national groups, and in direct contact and interaction with authorities and non-governmental organisations. In addition, 600,000 individuals have been reached through community media, radio and TV.